Sunday, May 27, 2018

May 27 – “It. Is. Done”

It.  Is.  Done. 

Yep.  We have gone and done it.  It has been ten years since we last did something so … so … earth-shattering.  Well, OK, it’s not really earth-shattering, but it does rock our world more than a little bit.  We bought a new car.  Not a used car.  A brand new Chevy Equinox.  29 miles on it.  And that’s including the eight we put on it in the test drive.  Well, that would be me that did the test drive.  Chris wouldn’t drive it until it was ours, but the moment we signed the papers, she pushed me out of the way and established her spot behind the wheel for the training session on all the new features.  She might let me drive it every now and then, but I get the distinct impression that this will be her car. 

Let’s see … June 6th.  Well, I’m about a week or two early, but … Happy Anniversary, Chris.  I love you.

Psalms 66:3-4 says, “Say to God, ‘How awesome are your deeds!  So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you.  All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.’”

Father, thank you for transportation.  Especially the comfortable kind.  And thank you even more for my wife.  May she enjoy it for ten more years.  Amen.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

May 26 – “Cherry Concrete”

We took a business jaunt into Texas yesterday.  We were out of several things at Seaside (Like communion crackers.  We had a crisis accident last Sunday and our stash ended up on the floor).  That one necessitated a trip to Lifeway to replenish the stock. We also went by Sam’s to restock the usual paper towels and toilet paper kind of stuff.  It is getting to be summer, after all.  Around here that means lots more people using the retreat center as well as visiting the church.  Oh, and we stopped at JoAnn’s as well.  That’s a fabric/craft store right by Lifeway.  They were having a big half-price sale on scrapbooking materials, and Chris is working on a scrapbook to commemorate our trip to DisneyWorld a few years ago. 

I have to say here that the highlight of the trip (aside from the rainstorm we had to drive through) came on our way back home.  We passed one of those huge private dump trucks.  On the rear of the truck was what appeared to be a company sticker.  As we got closer I read it … “Cherry Concrete.”  Interesting.  I have never tasted cherry concrete before.  Never even tried regular flavored concrete, in fact.  Hmm.  Maybe we can get them to repair the street we live on.  I wouldn’t mind a red street, just so it didn’t have so many potholes.  Cherry Concrete.  I’m still pondering that one.

We are back in parent mode again.  Had to take Cailyn to softball practice.  When we got there she was one of only two girls on hand.  More came later, but I felt bad leaving the one coach out there by himself, so I jumped in to help all I could.  Started out behind the plate returning missed pitches to the mound.  As more and more girls arrived, I switched to the field to help shag balls.  Here is my official pronouncement for the day: It is not a good idea to shag balls with no glove and a bad knee.  I was pretty sore last night, and even woke up to it throbbing this morning.  But I got in a lot of steps …

Psalms 66:1-2 says, “Shout with joy to God, all the earth!  Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious!”

Father, thank you for interesting signs … and flavors.  Makes life interesting.  And fun.  Amen.

Friday, May 25, 2018

May 25 – “Prayer hurts?”

Not much to report today.  No further action on the car front, although it sure doesn’t like switching into second gear.  Chris is still doing some hard and heavy research on what price we should be willing to pay.  I’m just ready to grab one and get it over with … get on the road again.  Hey, that would make a good song, wouldn’t it?  Somebody ought to mention it to a country singer/songwriter. 

I did start an exercise regimen for my knee.  I’m seeing if getting the muscles around it stronger will help the knee problem itself, or is it too far gone?  I found the exercises I had to do after the same knee was operated on many, many years ago (back when I was still a semi-athlete).  And Chris has already been onto me to do stuff to strengthen my quads.  Maybe I’ll come out of this with monster muscles … on my legs, anyway. 

Check out this thought from my quiet time this morning (Experiencing God Day-By-Day):
We are a generation that avoids pain at all costs.  This is why there are so few intercessors.  Most Christians operate on the shallowest levels of prayer, but God wants to take us into the deep levels of intercessory prayer that only a few ever experience.  Deep, prolonged intercession in painful.  It involves staying before God when everyone else has gone away or sleeps (Luke 22:45).  It involves experiencing brokenness with the Father over those who continually rebel against Him.  How many of us will experience this kind of fervent intercession?

Luke 22:44 says, “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly.  Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

Father, that look at prayer is kind of a scary one.  I sure feel like I have all the pain I can handle.  Call your people … as deep as we can stand it.  Amen.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

May 24 – “Missed it by that much …”

Well, the Bug Guy was supposed to be here yesterday between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. to attack the major ant colony in our kitchen.  Nope.  We waited until 9:30 for them to arrive or maybe to call, but nothing happened, so I called them.  Seems they had written down the wrong address.  They came to 7006 Sycamore, saw nothing but dogs in the window, and went on to their next call.  They offered big apologies, and promised to be here this morning around 8 a.m.  I think I’ll stand at the front door and watch for them …

About the only other point of significance from yesterday would be the calls we made to see about financing this car we have to buy.  I got the info from my retirement account on drawing or borrowing from there.  Chris looked up the latest offering from Chevrolet’s financing department.  Oh, and we checked back on and located another equinox there (which is actually on site at the Chevy dealership in Galveston) for that same $3,000 less than what the dealer offers.  I sent in the email as instructed and now we are waiting to hear back from them.  I guess by tomorrow we may have to just go to the dealer and present our offer to him. 

Big weekend for us coming up.  Not just because it’s Memorial Day and the crowd will be horrendous on the Island.  Nathan and April are heading out on a weekend trip for their tenth anniversary.  Cailyn is staying with us from this afternoon up until they return on Monday.  Oh, and along with her typical suitcase and probably her softball gear, she will be bringing two other additions as well.  Her dogs.  Boston Bull Terrier Scooter and Boxer Abby.  They are always an interesting mix with our three little mutts.  Never a dull moment around here this weekend.

Psalms 65:9 says, “You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water.”

Father, be with Nathan and April on their journey this weekend.  Keep them safe on the roads and help them draw closer to each other as they reboot for another ten years.  Amen.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

May 23 – “The Search begins”

Sigh.  The saga of searching for a new car has finally begun.  We put it off for as long as we could.  We were, in fact hoping to reach 200,000 miles with the one we have.  But sadly, that goal will not be achieved with this particular vehicle.  It has served us well, though.  133,000+ is a good legacy.  And with the many miles have come many memories of great shortcuts and grandkids in the back seat and spontaneous vacations to new and wonderful oddball places. 

We took the car to Mechanic Dennis yet again yesterday.  The check engine light was, indeed, indicating a faulty valve – the one that was replaced twice and is still brand new.  Most likely scenario?  Computer malfunction.  The transmission slipping was a bigger issue, though.  He said there are no obvious signs that it is leaking, and the only way to check it is to … insert here several mechanic-y words, which would cost about $200.  Then if the transmission is bad the cost skyrockets from there.  Nope and nope.  We left the shop and drove straight to the dealership (Well, not exactly straight.  We dropped off the truck at the house and then stopped by Home Depot first.  Chris needed a pot and some dirt). 

Now we have done some research in anticipation of such a somber event.  In fact we had already narrowed down our search to two candidates.  The Chevrolet Equinox (Yep, that’s just a newer version of what we have), and the Honda CRV.  Best we could tell, either of those will fit our need.  The local car dealership (the only one on the Island) had both of those on site, so we pulled in to check them out.  The Chevy was first on the docket.  It had all the amenities we were looking for, including the capacity to install three carseats.  It also had air conditioning in the back seat and a backup camera (I’m fascinated by those things) and the capacity to interact with your cell phone (Thus making Google Siri a more intimate part of the driving experience.  Not sure how Chris will feel about that.  Those two have never learned to play nicely together).  On the test drive the guy said I could go anywhere I wanted since I was a local and knew the area.  Didn’t think he’d agree to a quick road trip to Waco, so we settled for a jaunt over the causeway, through Tiki Island, and back.  Very nice ride.  I was impressed.  But we still wanted to try the Honda, and honestly we were hoping the Honda would win. 

The Honda had a nicer interior.  Chris liked the upholstery, but the gadgetry was not as impressive as the Chevy.  Kind of confusing.  Except for the backup mirror.  That was cool.  It had a top down function so you could see exactly how close you were to any objects behind you from a bird’s eye view.  It could only handle two carseats, though.  Almost an immediate deal breaker.  It did have a nifty little extra hidden mirror that you could pop open and keep your eye on the munchkins in the back seat.  Chris liked that feature.  We took the same drive route, and that’s where the real deal breaker happened.  I couldn’t hear the guy sitting in the seat next to me.  The noise level was way too high for an old guy with hearing aids that amplified the already loud road roar.  Nope.  The Chevy won out easily on that count.

Once back at the dealership, the guy gave us prices on the Chevy we drove and another that they had been using as a loaner (It had 1,000 miles on it already).  We took those prices home and checked back online with  Seems that loaner was listed online – same vin number and everything – for $3,000 less than his offer.  Hmm.  Negotiating point, you think?  Now we just have to figure out how we’re going to pay for the silly thing. 

Psalms 65:8 says, “Those living far away fear your wonders; where morning dawns and evening fades you call forth songs of joy.”

Father, please give us wisdom as we go through this frustrating process again.  Amen.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

May 22 – “The Chant”

We arrived at the baseball fields last night in the throes of a dilemma.  Josiah’s team was playing in the World Series of League City Little League, seven and eight year old division.  His team, the Hooks, named after the Astros farm team in Corpus Christi, won the American League championship.  They were playing the National League champs for the World championship.  Exciting stuff.  Jachin’s Pony League team, the Braves, on the other hand, was embroiled in a tough, single elimination, end of the season tournament at the same time.  His team was in a semi-final match-up to determine who would play in the tournament championship.  Equally as exciting.

The dilemma?  Well, the games were both scheduled to start at 6:00.  Both fields are in the same complex, but on opposite ends, as far apart as they could get.  Kel was helping with Josiah’s game, feeding the pitching machine.  Christina was torn between the two.  She really wanted to see the championship game, but was worried that Jachin’s might be his last game of the year.  Chris and I hesitated just a moment or two.  Finally I volunteered to hold down the cheering section over at Jachin’s game while Chris rooted for Josiah.  We would give each other text alerts on game progress.

Jachin was happy to see a familiar face.  Even happier when his youth pastor showed up to watch.  Before long the game ground into a pitching duel with the score 3-2 in favor of the good guys.  Meanwhile, over at the World Series, things were not looking so good for the Hooks.  Apparently they were the victims of big game pressure.  They couldn’t score in their first few at bats, while the other team was piling up the numbers.  Before they knew it the score was 10-0.  But that’s when the change came.  They started battling back.  The texts came more often.  Finally an especially happy one.  “Josiah hits!  Ends up on 3rd with all the overthrows.  2 runs score on his hit!!” (She was excited).  I replied with an “Attaboy.”  To which she replied, “And he scores!”  Shortly after this last one, I received a text from Christina.  She was feeling really torn between the two games.  So I asked if she wanted to switch bleacher seats.  Didn’t take long for that affirmative reply to come through.  So I trekked back over to Josiah’s game. 

Josiah’s little guys did really well.  They did have a rain delay, but the team all gathered around Kel’s phone and kept up with the progress of Jachin’s game.  They chanted encouragement to the “big guys” on the other side of the complex.  “The count’s 3 and 2, whatcha gonna do?  Walk, baby, walk.”  I think someone had an older sister who played Lassie League and taught him some of those classic softball chants.  After the rain delay, they ultimately lost the game 16-10, so they did mount quite a comeback.  The Braves played right through the rain.  And right during the worst of it, the opposing pitcher completely lost command of his pitches.  He walked five or six batters in a row.  The final score there was 8-2.  The Braves are now in the championship game on Wednesday evening.  And it looks like Jachin may be the starting pitcher.  Uh-oh.  A little parental pressure there, Kel and Christina.

My favorite part of the evening, however came when the championship trophies were presented.  The Hooks received their individual trophies as American League champs.  Once everyone had one, they started cheering and horsing around.  Finally they broke into the chant, “We’re number one.”  That went on for several seconds, and apparently someone reminded them that they had just lost the championship game.  Not to be deterred they hesitated for but a brief moment, then continued, “We’re number two!  We’re number two!”  Just as happy.  Just as much fun.  I love this game.

Psalms 64:10 says – “Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him; let all the upright in heart praise him!”

Father help us adults learn a lesson from our “We’re number two” kids.  Help us to find joy and even exuberance in the living of life, whatever it looks like.  Amen.

Monday, May 21, 2018

May 21 – “BOB, FOG, DOG”

We went to see BOB amid the FOG before DOG.  How’s that for an interesting Sunday morning?  Who is Bob?  Is it Mr. Bob of “Jesus loves you and I love you and there ain’t a thing you can do about it” fame?  It wasn’t foggy yesterday, was it?  I mean, it did rain a bit, but that stopped before 10:00.  And we do have a few dogs who attend church every week, but what do they have to do with Bob and Fog?  Well, thanks to our Worship Pastor Jim we have an answer, and a simple one at that.  See, yesterday as part of our Seaside worship experience, we went to see a Baptism on the Beach (BOB), after which we gathered together as the Church and same to celebrate being the Family of God (FOG), followed by a rousing Dinner on the Grounds (DOG) back at the church building.  BOB, FOG, DOG.  Makes perfect sense.  At least to Jim …

After a somewhat sober start to the service with several serious prayer times, including one for the Santa Fe community, it was indeed exciting to be a part of Wendy’s baptism.  I especially appreciated her husband Dan joining her in the waters and literally standing behind her to help her up out of the water.  Very meaningful occasion for them, I’m sure.  Back at the church while waiting for dinner to start, I had a conversation with another lady who has been contemplating baptism as well.  She has been a believer for some time but has never been immersed after she committed to the Lord as an adult.  After seeing Wendy’s baptism, she seems committed to following through with her own.  She planned to talk with her husband about it this week.  Great to see baptism doing what it’s supposed to do … witness to the world about a relationship with Jesus. 

Psalms 63:6-8 says, “On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.  Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.  My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”

Father, thank you again for Wendy and for her life before you.  Continue to use her to touch people’s lives.  Amen.